— Steve’s Marketplace —
Editor’s note: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace.
A once-hot department store with a former location on Amelia Island has cooled dramatically amid the retail ice age.
Stein Mart was once an adored and prosperous company. It expanded aggressively particularly throughout the Southeast, operating a store on Sadler Road in Fernandina Beach for years. However, it has now hit the rocks of the retail ice age and is entering a deep freeze of bankruptcy.
It’s an astounding fall from grace for the Jacksonville-based company. Most of Stein Mart’s brick-and-mortar stores will be closed. Stein Mart has operated five stores in Jacksonville and 281 stores around 30 states.
After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week, the company will remain in business “in the near term,” according to reports. The company’s eCommerce business and related intellectual property are being evaluated for sale.
Stein Mart was to be taken over by a private company, Kingswood Capital Management, but the Coronavirus pandemic put that plan on ice. In March, the company furloughed most of its store employees. But the company had reopened stores this summer, after receiving federal funds related to Covid-19.
“The combined effects of a challenging retail environment coupled with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic have caused significant financial distress on our business,” said CEO Hunt Hawkins. “The company has determined that the best strategy to maximize value will be a liquidation of its assets pursuant to an organized going-out-of-business sale.”
Steve Nicklas is a financial advisor for a major brokerage firm who lives and works on Amelia Island. He is also an award-winning columnist. His columns appear regularly in several newspapers in North Florida and South Georgia, and on his website: www.SteveNicklasMarketplace.com. He has also published a book, “All About Money,” consisting of his favorite columns over the past 20 years. The book is available at local stores and on Amazon. He can be reached at 904-753-0236 or at [email protected].